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Arizona passes law declaring porn a ‘public health crisis’

Arizona passes law declaring porn a ‘public health crisis’
Arizona legislators have officially declared pornography a “public health crisis,” passing a bill urging the state to “systematically prevent exposure and addiction” – but insisting they won’t try to ban it outright.

The bill warns that “children are being exposed to pornography at an alarming rate, leading to low self-esteem, eating disorders, and an increase in problematic sexual activity at ever-younger ages.” Adults aren’t safe either, suffering “toxic sexual behaviors, emotional, mental and medical illnesses and difficulty forming or maintaining intimate relationships.”

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While proponents insist the resolution isn’t a plot to outlaw porn – its most direct provision urges the state to “educate individuals and families about [porn]’s harms and develop pornography-recovery programs” – some lawmakers want it to go further, while others denounce it as legislative virtue-signaling, worrying it distracts from actual public health crises like homelessness and opioid addiction.

This bill, on its face, sounds like it might be a good idea, but it doesn’t have any teeth,” said Sen. Victoria Steele (D-Tucson) during discussion on the Senate floor. “It is a way for people to check off that box and make it look like they’ve done something.” 

The resolution was passed by the Arizona Senate on Monday with 16 votes for and 13 against, having passed the House in February. It does not require the governor’s approval to become law.

Similar measures based on “model legislation” by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation have passed in 11 other states. A related proposal, floated by an Arizona senator earlier this year, would charge residents a fee to access porn, requiring all internet-capable devices sold in the state to come pre-equipped with obscene-content filters. The money would then be used to pay for President Donald Trump’s border wall.

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